In the Kitchen with Brian Meeker, Chef at Angel Falls Coffee Company

 

Interview by Lia Pietrolungo. Photos by Charles Von

 

From the age of sixteen, Brian Meeker has spent countless hours in kitchens, learning and honing in on his talents as a chef. Recently we spoke about his approach to cooking, and his famous gluten free, vegan banana nut bread with chocolate chips.

 

Lia Pietrolungo: From what I witnessed in the kitchen, you seem to be a very lively and passionate chef. Tell me a little more about your experience while cooking:

BRIAN MEEKER: The first [thing] that comes to mind that simply relates and conveys my experience is the book/film, “Like Water From Chocolate”…meaning love can be and is communicated through food when love is present.


LP: How does your background as a surrealist artist spill over into your cooking & time spent in the kitchen?

BM: As in making a piece of visual art, I remain open and intuitive to my approach. I realize sometimes that whatever it is I’m working on has a voice of its own and if I fail to listen to what it wants to be on its own terms then generally the outcome won’t be born as it ought be. Listening is key.

 

DSC_9121LP: What is the most challenging part of being in the kitchen, and how do you work with/around/overcome that challenge?

BM: Biggest challenge is time constraints…my shift is 6  hours, half of which is lunch…I end up multi-taking so much as once, I bounce and curse way way around the kitchen like someone who’s possessed! Ha!


LP: Your banana bread is most divine! How long did it take for you to come up with the perfect recipe? What was your recipe formation process like?

BM: The original recipe came from my aunt Kathy. I loved her nut bread as a kid, so I got her recipe. I can be incredibly nontraditional, especially when making food. [I’m] not sure how long it took to get from my aunt’s recipe to me blowing it up to what it is now with the chocolate chips and spices — maybe a 10 year plus experiment recipe-forming process — a lot of trial and error. Especially through the transition from non-vegan to vegan and again when I switched from wheat flour to gluten-free flour.

 

LP: What is your favorite dish to prepare?

BM: I’ve always been a fan of making soups, so I’d say [Angel Falls’] soups, which I change up seasonally. We always have two soups, one of which I make vegan for the vegan folks. My favorite and I’d say from how much I make during the fall and winter is my flaming hot vegan chili. And, of course my vegan gluten-free banana nut bread w/choc chips.

 

Lunch at Angel Falls Coffee Co.  is served Mon.-Sat. 11am-2pm

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Recently, Lia has taken to making pies of all sorts. Her cat, Heathcliff, has taken to knocking them off of the counter while trying to sneak a nibble.